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Towards the end of last year I found myself slacking off on my meditation and mindfulness practices due to life and adult-ing just getting a bit overwhelming (which of course is the time I should have been ramping those daily practices up, go figure!) so I know how hard it can be to pick up and maintain a mindfulness practice. I was reminded of friends of mine who say to me ‘Brodes I can’t meditate It’s too hard’ or ‘Oh Meditation, yeah I tried that and I wasn’t very good at it’...I do hear and understand how people can feel that way.

We all deal with negative thoughts running through our minds at some stage in life weather it’s a steady stream or just every now and again. For me meditation isn’t about stopping these thoughts altogether (I mean to stop ourselves from thinking is impossible so it’s no wonder some people feel defeated when they try meditating this way) and it’s not about finding enlightenment or floating around being zen-like all day either.

To me, mindfulness and meditation is about doing whatever it takes to bring your attention to the present moment, into your body, and out of your chattering mind. And the great thing is that this practice has been shown to have multiple health and brain benefits, and there continues to be studies carried out on all the positives.

Sitting quietly with your eyes closed and focusing on something that doesn't require a lot of brain power, like counting the length of your breaths, helps your brain slip into relaxing alpha wave, which brings on a cascade of health benefits ranging from reducing inflammation to reducing ageing.

Um, yes, please.

Trust me, if I can practice mindfulness, anyone can do it. I’ve popped together a quick list for those of you with ‘Meditate’ or ‘Mindfulness’ on your New Year’s Resolution list and would love to hear from you how you feel afterwards…

1. Connect with your senses

When you hone in on your five senses (touch, taste, hearing, smell, and vision), you connect with your body, notice sensations happening in the moment, and give yourself a mental break. To do this close your eyes, slow your breathing, and focus on each of your senses, one at a time (or just pick one sense to focus on at a time). The key is to take in each sensation slowly, with nonjudgmental attention.

2. 1 to 10 count

Sit somewhere comfortably either cross legged on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes down and start to pay attention to the natural flow of your breath. Placing a count onto the breath start with the inhale being 1 the exhale 2, the inhale 3 and exhale 4 all the way up to the count of 10 and then make your way back to 1. Do this exercise for 10-15 minutes if possible (every time thoughts come into the mind try not to get frustrated just acknowledge them and gradually draw yourself back to your breath and count) I love this first thing in the morning for a mindful start to the day or last thing at night to wind down.

3. Beginners Breath

Draw your attention to the natural flow of your breath moving in and out of your nostrils. You can do this just about anywhere and will likely find yourself feeling calm after just a few minutes. The goal here is to breathe smoothly and evenly, so an even in and out breath. I find it helpful to place a count onto the breath say inhale for the count of 4, exhale for 4. If you are finding it difficult to notice your breath you might even like to place your hand onto your belly and watch the rise and fall as you breathe in and out.

4. Tense & Relax

Lie down with your eyes closed. Squish and squeeze every muscle in your body as tightly as you can. Squish your toes and feet, tighten the muscles in your legs all the way up to your hips, suck in your belly, squeeze your hands into fists, and raise your shoulders up to your head. Hold yourself in your tense position for a few seconds, and then fully release and relax. Do this two or three times. It should bring extra awareness to your body and may help you feel more relaxed and present.

To learn more about meditation & mindfulness why not join us on our overseas retreat this year Saturday 27th – Friday 2nd August 2019 in Ubud the spiritual hub of Bali...for more info click HERE!

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